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Strategic Environmental Framework

In 1997 the Environment Agency produced a draft Strategic Environmental Assessment report. This was a first attempt to assess the impacts and opportunities that could arise during the design, construction and implementation of flood defence works. It also began to set out guidelines for dealing with these.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment (now known as the Strategic Environmental Framework) aims to identify and evaluate all potential effects on the environment. The term environment in this case is used in its very widest sense and refers to the broader environment in which projects operate. It includes local economic and social well-being, as well as agriculture, recreation and navigation.

The project will be updating the Strategic Environmental Framework. The original SEA was made up of separate reports, all of which can be downloaded from this page.



Environmental statements

Most flood improvement works that the project are proposing are likely to be subject to the Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No 293). The description of the developments correspond to flood relief works contained in Schedule 2 of the Regulations, and also in Annex A of DETR Circular 2/99.


EIA for Schedule 2 development is not mandatory but where the development is located wholly or partly within a sensitive area EIA is more likely to be required. The Regulations interpret such areas to include the Broads as Article 1(5) land.

Even within the Broads development will not automatically require EIA and the likely effects of the proposals on the particular location should be taken into account were a formal screening opinion to be sought. In the case of most developments, the Environment Agency (as applicant) and BESL (as agent) are producing voluntary EIAs.

The EIA Regulations specify that an Environmental Statement (ES) must contain the following information:

bulletScoping the key issues;
bulletDescription of the existing environment;
bulletConsideration of options and selection of the preferred scheme;
bulletIdentification of the potential environmental impacts;
bulletAssessment of the significance of the impacts;
bulletIdentification of mitigation measures;
bulletAssessment of residual impacts; and
bulletIdentification of monitoring requirements

The project uses a mixture of general sources, specialist data and reports to obtain baseline data. This information is reviewed for each environmental feature of the study area.

Additionally site visits are undertaken to gain an overview of the study area and the project has commissioned additional field surveys to determine the location of nationally scarce plants, water voles, trees and shrubs in the works area and vegetation of soke and marsh dykes throughout the flood compartments.


Following the collation of baseline data and responses to the project own informal consultations, an assessment of the impacts of the proposed flood defence improvements is undertaken, taking into account the mitigation measures to be incorporated into the works.

The objective of this impact assessment is to identify both the adverse and beneficial impacts of the proposed works on the following environmental parameters:

bulletLand use and local community;
bulletEcology and nature conservation;
bulletLandscape and visual quality;
bulletWater environment;
bulletArchaeology and cultural heritage; and
bulletRecreation and navigation.

Environmental reports

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirement for Schedule 2 projects (flood relief works) is discretionary and a formal screening opinion of the Broads Authority (as local planning authority) can determine that EIA under the 1999 regulations is not required.

In a number of cases the project has sought a screening opinion and where EIA was not needed, Environmental Reports were prepared instead of Environmental Statements.


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